Traveling to the bahamas with a dog

Traveling to the Bahamas on a sailboat with a pet aboard.

Everything you need to know about entering the Bahamas.

AHOY!! Greeting from Sailing Spyridon. We are a family of 3 plus a fur baby aboard a Westerly Sealord Monohull Sailboat. We began our liveaboard journey back in March of 2020 the week that Covid became a global shutdown. WE ultimately decided that Sailing is social distancing and we kept our distance traveling by mother natures grace. WE left Texas with the idea to head to the Bahamas but then everything shut down and we kept pushing is back till the following season. 

October of 2021 , We adopted our dog Miss Luna-Bagel. She is, on paper, a boxer Shepard mix but anyone who knows dogs knows 🙂 She is a low energy boat pup whos happy place is napping on deck and shoving her face in the sand. I am sharing with you some up to date information about the process of entering the Bahamas by vessel after the pandemic. I hope my article helps you enter paradise as pain free as possible. 

 

Pet Permits

Anyone who has traveled to the Bahamas have feared the process of acquiring a pet permit. The internet makes it feel like a long drawn out process and it can be!! Unless you reach out to Wellington. Wellington is a one man show who will walk you through any questions you might have, he will forward you all the papers you need and personally drop it off at the Department of Agriculture for them to stamp the approval/denial. If I recall correctly I think his charges are only $15 dollars more than if you were to mail the paperwork in yourself. Wellington is  kind, and punctual. 

Remember that the Bahamas have some rules about what pets are allowed. All pets must be 6 months of older, be micro chipped, spayed/neutered, Up to date in shots and must be no less than 3 months from expiration date.  ( Dm us for more information if you have one of the.. questionable breeds. )  After your animal has had a Health check and all of their shots are valid then you will send in 2 papers that informs the Government what you are importing. Once you have everything ready , send it to Wellington and even though his website says 1-2 weeks. He will rush upon request and if im perfectly honest, we were planning to leave in a heavy traffic month. He suffered from some health issues and spent a week in the hospital and then followed that week with playing catch up. He quickly sent out emails to anyone who contacted him and handled every ones needs so fast. After we were approved we had to have another vet check up 48 hours before leaving for the Bahamas. Those who are sailors knows that we travel with the wind and some of the covid regulations felt impossible. Rest assured that they are a bit more relaxed over here then we are used to in America. 

A Post- Bahamas Travel update:  We chose to enter into GreenTurtle Cay from Fort Pierce. We chose this as our check in spot for a couple reasons. For starters Green Turtle Cay sat under Hurricane Dorian for 48 hours  with 78 Mile nm winds. The Island is destroyed and we wanted to put our money into an island who needed help. Apon arrival we were shocked on the reality of the damage. The hurricane happened right before covid so rebuild has been detrimental to the community. (– Check out my other blogs about our travels in the Bahamas on my blog section of this website.) The second reason we chose to go to Green Turtle Cay was because we had a dog aboard, We went through all the right channels to getting her pet permit approved but didn’t want to be boarded for her comfort/discomfort. We were also told that we needed to print out the papers on immigration, because they might not have access to the app or interne and may or may not have access to approve our arrival process. All the paperwork necessary added up to 15 pages per person, and we were advised to do 3 copies per person as well,  1 for them, 1 incase it gets damaged somehow, and a third one in case someone questions you and wants proof. Turns out, they did have access to the app, and all that paperwork was not even accepted as an alternative option to checking in. A big mistake we did was not do both just to be clear and ready, Our service was spotty so doing the app while in the Bahamas without the Aliv puck( local internet )  was proven difficult but the boys got it done- The whole process took 2 hours. 

Post travel Blog on traveling with a dog aboard into the Bahamas.

We were pretty stressed out about the obstacles that come with a dog aboard in the Bahamas. For starters we don’t want to be the kind of boat dog people who has a dog barking all the time and we knew that our pup is very worried for swimmers after seeing manatees and dolphins. This is one of the rare times that she does bark so if we left her aboard and left the boat we knew it was a risk that we had to think about.  I was also worried that her breed mix was questionable and may not be acceptable to walk around in high public areas. Another worry I had was her color (white) and sharks. I was afraid of her become a snack for the range of sharks in the Bahamas.We had adopted her one year prior to our trip into the islands and although she has been very progressive she is still a trauma survivor. She has been great with her training- but she is not perfect yet and I was nervous to take this trip. 

Turns out all my worries were  energy wasted. The check in process was a breeze, no one boarded our boat and a lot of our anchorages were either secluded of we had good space around our boat so we didn’t have to work about swimmers triggering her anxiety. Turns out that as we traveled we saw a lot of street dogs, and they were loose and a range of breeds.  We met several pitbull mix breeds too so it was easier to take her on walks without fear of judgement. She is a Shepard Boxer mix but that doesn’t stop her looking bully like. She handled our frequent travel, and long days on the boat at ease. She enjoyed her morning swim or walk when we could facilitate one but was also a champion about being on the boat for days at a time in those places where we couldn’t take her to shore. 

We did run into a unique issue with  her that I thought we should mention to anyone who has had this issue. For what ever reason when we are in high salty waters our pup gets huge blisters in her ears. This happened in the keys and we thought it was shrimps bothering her but realized later that is was salt water. The blisters don’t appear anywhere else but her poor ears are so painful for weeks after a good swim. After we realized what was happening we started rinsing her ears after each swim, and not pushing to having a daily swim. this helped but on occassions she would still get the blisters. Then we started putting A&D oil on the inside of her ears and that worked wonders!! Now, when we take her swimming we apply it before we go, and then clean what is left of it off when we get home, then reapply. If this is happening to your dog we suggest trying this out. 

Overall, Our trip was amazing, and stress free. If you have any questions about taking a dog into the islands feel free to message us on instagram for a quick response.

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